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Governor Percival Proctor Baxter

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Office Dates:  Jan 31, 1921 - Jan 07, 1925

Succeeded

Born:  Nov 22, 1876

Passed:  Jun 12, 1969

Birth State:  Maine

Party:  Republican

School(s):  Bowdoin College, Harvard University


PERCIVAL P. BAXTER, the fifty-third governor of Maine, was born in Portland, Maine on November 22, 1876. His education was attained at Bowdoin College, where he graduated in 1898, and at Harvard University, where he earned his LL.B. degree three years later. Instead of practicing law, Baxter went into his family's lucrative real estate business. He entered politics in 1905, serving as a one-term member of the Maine House of Representatives, a position he held again from 1917 to 1920. He also served as a member of the Maine State Senate from 1909 to 1910 and 1921 to 1922, and served as president of the senate in 1921. On January 31, 1921, Governor Frederick H. Parkhurst passed away, and Baxter, who was president of the senate at the time, assumed the duties of the governorship. He was elected to his own gubernatorial term in 1922. During his tenure, a new state prison was established, conservation measures were improved, educational programs were advanced, tougher prohibition laws were endorsed, and for the first time in the state's history women were appointed to public office. Also, penal reform was authorized, and Governor Baxter was the author of the nation's first anti-vivisection law. After completing his term, Baxter left office on January 7, 1925. His last political election ended in defeat when he ran for the U.S. Senate in 1926. Baxter retired from politics, but stayed active, dealing with his extensive business interests and spending time on his philanthropic affairs. He donated over 200,000 acres of land to the state, which became the Baxter State Park, and he deeded his summer home, which was initiated into the Governor Baxter State School for the Deaf. Governor Percival P. Baxter passed away on June 12, 1969. His cremated ashes were scattered throughout the Baxter State Park.

Sources:

Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 2, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.

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Cornelius Amory Pugsley Gold Medal Award, 1948

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